serialism, editing, and sucking my own dick: a brief rant about being ungrateful but still damnit
so i got published by a place which is like, hooray that’s great! people can read my writing without needing to directly contact me! and now i cannot get that thing published anywhere else technically!! and copyright laws are totally working against me and not for me!!!! but that’s for another cynical rant, not this one.
this one is about editors.
nothing is perfect. everything i write, i read over it probably a couple times a month to see if it still sounds just as right as it did the last time. it never does. so i make those changes. once in a while, there’s always something that slips that was an unforced error, and sometimes i add and subtract entire sentences or whatever, but usually it’s the little things: getting the style and rhythm just right. getting the voice. every change fits this purpose. in that way, a thoroughly looked-over manuscript is kind of like serialist music. if it’s doing its job, every note is in the right order, on the right tone, fitting just the right space. if you change one cog in just a little place, the song changes entirely. the row shifts. it’s a different piece of music, expressing a different idea, having a different dynamism, and most importantly, possessing a different voice.
having an editor is nice too. being published is nice. when you are being published, as many eyes on it as you can please! make sure it’s all good! but please for pleasepleaseplease’s sake PLEASE at least bother to notify about what you are changing before you publish it for good. because, wow remember what I said in the first paragraph about the First Copy basically being the Final Copy for amateur authors? and about how small changes can harm the overall tone in a big way? what you end up publishing may be the stone form of that story for good, and it really is better to ask for permission than to beg for forgiveness.
it’s a shit deal for authors already in the power dynamic, so flipping a couple emails back and forth wouldn’t kill ya if it’s the least you could do. when something does get changed that affects the tone and rhythm, it’s like seeing something out of place. the editor of a work should be a friend in a dialogue, not a poltergeist shifting around the furniture.
the work isn’t perfect, but this isn’t a novel. this is something small, something you could talk about quickly and easily. and you would not edit poetry this way. c’mon man. c’mon.